Tag Archives: data visualization

Eric Fischer, See Something or Say Something: Boston. Used under a CC-BY license.

May 2019 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

During the month of May, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations created by undergraduate and graduate student award recipients from the 10th annual GIS Mapping contest. Past winning posters can be found in the university Institutional Repository, eScholarship@BC, under the category Juried Student Work. The entries of our newest winners will join this distinguished group.

First Place

Aleksandra Ostojic, Geology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, graduate prize: “Sedimentation Patterns in Nauset Marsh, MA.”

Zoe Fanning ‘20, International Studies; Ethics and International Social Justice, MCAS , undergraduate prize: “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Health Care Provision and Health Systems in Syria.”

Second Place

Krisztina Horvath, Economics, MCAS, graduate prize: “Adverse Selection in Health Insurance Marketplaces: A Spatial Analysis.”

Kaylie Danials ‘19, Political Science, MCAS, undergraduate prize: “Socioeconomic Status as an Indicator of Attention Deficit/Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Prevalence in Youth Aged 4-17.”

Third Place

Shannon Crowley, Curriculum & Instruction, Lynch School of Education, graduate prize: “Using ArcGIS to Supplement Regression: Analysis of SPED Student Performance.”

Grace Harrington ‘19, Psychology, MCAS, undergraduate prize: “Social Determinants of Mental Health in Tamil Nadu, India.”

Florence Nightingale 1858 diagram of mortality rates

March 2019 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

For the months of March and April, the O’Neill digital display (by the POP collection) will feature a curated “Women Also Know Data” visualization display to highlight diagrams, projects, and software developed by women over the last 160 years.

Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is commonly referred to as the founder of modern nursing, but did you know that she was also a statistician and created hand-drawn data visualizations? She created “coxcombs” (or diagrams) and used them to report on conditions of medical care during the Crimean War. The “Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East” (1858), is an example of a polar area diagram that depicts the number of soldiers’ deaths from preventable diseases (identified in blue, red, and black) according to month and year. Nightingale was recognized for her pioneering work and was the first woman elected (1859) into the Royal Statistical Society.

Los Angeles: The City and the Library

Dr. Colleen Jaurretche’s composition class at UCLA developed the “Los Angeles: The City and the Library” site as a way to explore the history of Los Angeles. This project exemplifies how faculty can collaborate with librarians and archivists on a course-long assignment. Students attended library research sessions to develop their research paper topics and worked with the UCLA Special Collections to select images and create annotations about the materials examined in the archive, plotting each artifact on a map. The infrastructure for this project is built on Flâneur, a Jekyll theme for maps and texts, developed by Dawn Childress (UCLA, Digital Scholarship Librarian) & Niqui O’Neil (NCSU, Digital Technologies Development Librarian).

Dear Data: A friendship in data, drawing and postcards

Giorgia Lupi, an information designer, artist and entrepreneur, and Stefanie Posavec, a designer embarked on a year long project during which they hand drew data visualizations on postcards and mailed them to each other across the Atlantic. Their visualizations were based on the data they collected about their lives, including such things as door patterns, laughter, clocks, and so on. You can find images of the postcards on their project site, as well as a few videos.

Deconstructing Space Oddity one dimension at a time

Following the death of musician David Bowie (1947-2016), designer Valentina D’Efilippo and researcher Miriam Quick, developed “Deconstructing Space Oddity one dimension at a time” project in which they visualized data from Bowie’s song, “Space Oddity,” written in 1969. They selected this piece due to its significance in Bowie’s legacy, because it was his first breakthrough single, first British top 5 hit, and his first US Top 20. D’Efilippo and Quick deconstructed the song and visualized data according to narrative, recording, texture, rhythm, harmony, structure, melody, lyrics, trip, and emotions. For example, the data about the recording visualizes the master tracks of this song, including the lead vocals, backing vocals, and instrumentation (flute, strings, mellotron, stylophone, guitar, bass, and drums).

The Women of Data Viz

Alli Torban, a data visualization designer, created this visualization based on survey results collected by Elijah Meeks. 142 women who identify as data visualization practitioners took the survey and responded to questions about themselves and their work. Torban’s visualization is a example of a free-form visualization of data that can be as she puts it is “not only beautiful and engaging, but also something that helps you connect with your data.” Torban hosts a podcast called “Data Viz Today” and you can hear more about this visualization and other projects in Episode 28: How to Build a Connection With Your Data Through Original Visualization. You can also view the Meeks’ original survey data and results in his GitHub repository, https://github.com/emeeks/data_visualization_survey.


The visualization display is curated by Allison Xu (Data and Visualization Librarian) and Anna Kijas (Digital Scholarship Librarian).

visualization of US immigration trends

February 2019 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

For the rest of January through February, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations that covers a variety of topics, including health, politics, immigration as well as food. Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

2018 Midterm Election

The beginning of a year is always a good time to look back at the past year. 2018 will be remembered in many ways, one thing that reminds us about 2018 is the midterm election which has been one of the most popular topics in the media for quite a while. The visualization by Bloomberg maps the 2018 election for the House, Senate and Governor races. The data provided is extensive and impeccably organized by the three races which can be further broken down by state, races with women, open races, key races, committee chairs, and flipped seats. The map combines a lot of information into one single map in that users can change the view from cartogram to map, and switch between the elections and states easily.

World Coffee Production

Do you like coffee? If so, you will probably find this visualization interesting. Nitin Paighowal visualizes the world’s “Coffee Bean Belt,” which shows areas with the most coffee production. He shows which nations produce the most coffee according to coffee varieties. The visualization was originally created in Tableau and published on Tableau Public. Because of the high popularity, it has been selected as one of the best visualizations of 2018 in Tableau Public Gallery.

Rhythm of food

Powerful data visualization can translate complex information into beautiful visual representations for storytelling. Rhythm of food, a visualization project, created by Google News lab in collaboration with Truth & Beauty, charts 12 years of food related search trends based on Google search data. They collected weekly google trends data for hundreds of dishes and ingredients over 12 years, and plotted the results on a year clock to discover the interplay between seasons, years, holidays and rhythm of food around the world.

Food trends across the country

When it comes to restaurants, every US city has its own favorite(s). Have you ever wondered what the most popular local cuisine is when you travel to a new city? A visualization by Google News Lab and design studio Polygraph will answer your question with a map. In this visualization, you will find out that Boston ranked No.2 for Pizza and No.4 for Burger out of all US cities.

Searching for health

Another visualization that we found was also created with Google search data. Google News Lab, collaborated with Schema and Alberto Cairo to create “Searching for Health”, a visualization that tracks the top searches for common health issues in the United States, from Cancer to Diabetes, and compares them with the actual location of occurrences for those same health conditions. By using data from both Google Trends API and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the visualization allows the reader to find potential geographic relationships between those who search and the actual prevalence of health conditions across the country.

The Simulated Dendrochronology of U.S. Immigration 1790-2016

America is a nation of immigrants, Simulated Dendrochronology of US Immigration visualizes the history of immigration to the United States over the past two centuries. The visualization was created by Pedro Cruz, John Wihbey, Avni Ghael, and Felipe Shibuya from Northeastern University. Data was collected from IPUMS-USA which contains Census data from 1790 to 2016. Pedro Cruz explains the method for creating this visualization in his paper: “Process of Simulating Tree Rings for Immigration in The U.S. A video version of this visualization is also available.

This month’s data visualization blog post was written by Allison Xu (Data and Visualization Librarian). The visualization display was curated by Allison Xu and Anna Kijas (Digital Scholarship Librarian).

Visualization from Boston College tree inventory, 2010 GIS poster

November 2018 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

November 14 is GIS Day, but at O’Neill Library we’ll be celebrating all month-long! Stop by the GIS themed book display (curated by Barbara Mento) in the third floor lobby and check out the visualizations on the digital display (next to the POP collection). The display will showcase a selection of data visualizations created by Boston College undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff using a variety of GIS software and platforms. Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

The Boston College Tree Inventory poster created by Kevin Keegan received first place in the 2010 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Mapping Contest at Boston College. He created the visualization in ArcMap (ArcGIS) and used data collected about trees on the Newton, Chestnut Hill, and Brighton campuses. The data inventory was created by the Office of Sustainability at Boston College with the goal of demonstrating Boston College’s carbon footprint.

The Seismic Map for New England and adjacent regions created by the Weston Observatory visualizes seismic activity and earthquake epicenters in the area for the period of January 1975 to October 2013. The Weston Observatory records earthquake activity (since the 1930s!) using seismic instruments with an emphasis on the northeastern United States. You can view a live feed of seismic activity in the region via the New England Seismic Network station. If you are in the O’Neill Library you can view seismic activity on the seismograph in the study area on Level One.

If you have ever wondered where most of the Boston College undergraduate students come from, you can find this answer in the Geographic Distribution of Undergraduate Students resource. This visualization created using Tableau software depicts enrollment over time per state/province and enrollment by US Census Region from 1976 through 2017. The data is drawn from several sources, including Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment, Office of Student Services, Registrar, U.S. Census Regions. A similar visualization was created to show where graduate international students come from and how enrollment has changed since 1991 through 2018. The underlying data was drawn from the Office of International Students and Scholars and Office of Dean for Student Development at Boston College. Both of these visualizations were created by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment.

Each year the Boston College Libraries hold a GIS contest. Students are encouraged to submit their mapping work and top entries will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate students! The deadline for the 2019 contest is April 4, 2019. The first place winners from 2018 were Michaela Simoneau (Undergraduate, International Studies, Biology/MCAS) for The Plight of the Rohingya Refugee: Assessing current and predicted health and sanitation challenges and Abolfazl Sotoudeh-Sherbaf (Graduate, Sociology) for Iran’s 2018 Protests: Spatial Diffusion, Socio-Economics, and Climate Change.

Screenshot of Global Map of Wind project

October 2018 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

During Open Access October, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations that use open data about weather, climate, the environment, and of course, baseball! Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

Climate Ready Boston Map Explorer is a mapping tool (Esri ArcGIS) that enables visitors to explore areas of the city that are at risk of flooding and extreme heat due to changes in our climate. It also features social vulnerability layers for demographic information including income, race, disability, age, language, and disease. The underlying open data (hosted in Analyze Boston) is from the Climate Ready Boston initiative that aims to “help Boston plan for the future impacts of climate change.”

MIT Treepedia is an interactive visualization that measures the canopy cover (street-level) in cities around the world. It was created by Carlo Ratti, Ian Seiferling, Xiaojiang Li, Newsha Ghaeli, and Wonyoung So at the Senseable City Laboratory, MIT. This project uses open data and is available on GitHub for anyone to use, so go ahead and visualize the tree cover for a city of your choosing!

Life and Death of Data is a very interesting project that makes us consider data as artifact. It also weaves narrative and interviews from Arboretum staff with data visualization. The project was developed by Yanni Alexander Loukissas in collaboration with Krystelle Denis, metaLAB and Arnold Arboretum. The team explored the scientific and cultural history of the Arboretum’s 142 years through its metadata, documenting changes in accession practices, data management approaches, and institutional development.

The Visual Baseball Project is a social network visualization created by Ken Cherven. Boston is a bit baseball crazy, so this visualization had to make its way into our display. It shows the connections between Red Sox players on team rosters from 1901 to 2017. He uses Gephi and sigma.js software to generate and render the graph and provides multi-part tutorials on his blog for anyone interested in creating a similar visualization or recreating one using the underlying data from this project. Go Sox!

An Interactive Visualization of NYC Street Trees is a neat project that uses data from 2005 and 2015 hosted in the NYC Open Data repository to visualize the variety and quantity of trees along streets in New York City’s boroughs. The concept and design is by Cloudred and programming is by Cristian Zapata.

The Global Map of Wind is a visualization of global weather conditions and was developed by Cameron Beccario. The map data is from Natural Earth and the weather data is updated from several sources that produce weather forecast, ocean surface current estimates, ocean surface temperatures and anomaly, ocean waves, and aurora data. The data sources and project code are available in this GitHub repository, cambecc/earth.

Map depicting ICE facilities across the United States

September 2018 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

During the month of September, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations created by students, scholars, librarians, and developers working around the world. These visualizations demonstrate how data analysis and visualization is used across disciplines and fields. Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

Torn Apart/Separados was created in 6 days through the collaborative efforts of Manan Ahmed, Maira E. Álvarez, Sylvia A. Fernández, Alex Gil, Merisa Martinez, Moacir P. de Sá Pereira, Linda Rodriguez, and Roopika Risam. This project is a response to the United States 2018 Zero Tolerance Policy which resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents and families. The team used publicly available data to build the visualization and site with Leaflet, D3.js, Bootstrap, and Jekyll.

Where Historians Work: Careers Beyond the Professoriate is an interactive, online database that catalogues the career outcomes of the 8,515 historians who earned PhDs at U.S. universities from 2004 and 2013. This visualization, created in Tableau, depicts careers pursued by History PhDs beyond the academy. Initial findings are discussed in “Every Historian Counts: A New AHA Database Analyzes Careers for PhDs,” by Emily Swafford and Dylan Ruediger (July 9, 2018). The visualization was created by American Historical Association’s Career Diversity for Historians initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Female Nobel Laureates visualization by David Hoskins (Data Visualizaton Specialist) uses data from 1901 through 2017 to demonstrate the underrepresentation of women, primarily in science, but also other disciplines, who have received the Nobel Prize. The interactive chart was created in Tableau and includes profiles of each female Nobel laureate, including a photo. The dataset was provided by the Midlands Tableau User Group in Nottingham, England.

Crisis in the Humanities is a post by Ben Schmidt (Northeastern University) in which he examines the crisis in the humanities, charting the trends in humanities degrees between 1948 and 2017. Using historical U.S. degree data from NCES-IPEDS, Schmidt uses data analysis and renders visualizations in R to demonstrate how the last five years have been most brutal for humanities majors.

World Cup Most Valuable Players visualizes the players who touched the ball most often during the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. The interactive dashboard uses data from Opta Sports and was created by Felipe Hoffa using BigQuery and Data Studio.

Illustration of Whaling Ship

May 2018 Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill Library

During the month of May, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations created by Boston College faculty, students, and staff. This month we are also including the winning visualizations from the 9th annual GIS Mapping contest. Each source is linked to the original site (when available) where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

Mapping Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales – Dr. Eric Weiskott (English Department) created a map tour, in MediaKron, of the frame narrative of the Canterbury Tales with his ENGL3393: Chaucer course.

Seamus Connolly Collection Network – Anna Kijas (Digital Scholarship Librarian) visualizes the relationships between the musicians in the Seamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music. The network graph was created in Gephi and rendered with the SigmaJS library.

Global Boston – Eras of Migration – Dr. Marilynn Johnson (History Department) highlights different periods in Boston’s immigration history in a timeline built with TimelineJS.

GIS Poster winners

Sidewalk snow removal map

April 2018 – Data Visualization Display @ O’Neill

During the month of April, the O’Neill Library digital display (by the POP collection) will showcase a selection of data visualizations, which use a variety of tools and methods, such as GIS, data mining, network analysis, 3D visualization, and Tableau. Each source is linked to the original site where you can further explore the associated data, visualization, or literature.

Thanks to the following staff for suggesting several of these resources: Amy Howard and Sarah Melton.